Mikal Shapiro @ Mills Record Company
This Saturday, Mills Record Company will be hosting Mikal Shapiro with special guest David Regnier (of Dead Voices and Ruddy Swain). The singer-songwriter seems equally comfortable using just her voice and acoustic guitar as she does backed by a full band. No matter how Mikal Shapiro arranges her songs, it’s clear they have a powerful base that resonates through however many layers are added.
Shapiro will be playing from her latest, The Musical. The album itself flits between folk and slinking jazz. The combination lends the album a smoothness that doesn’t detract from the passion that sits at the center of each song. The Musical is one of those albums that sounds as grown-up as it does playful.
Throughout the album, the bass lines glissade down the rocky rhythms and leads to create a feel of speak-easy jazz. Shapiro’s voice acts as the counterpoint–offsetting this coolness with her twang-laced melodies. Whether jazzier elements or folksy melodies are driving the record (and they do take turns), The Musical spins out its sounds with a skill that is absolutely mesmerizing.
These elements and more come together flawlessly in her live show. With a physical presence that can command a crowd with or without a mic, Shapiro and her band is an act to see. Whether the singer songwriter and her band are playing a porch during PorchFest or a tiny room during the Folk Alliance International Convention, they put on a show that allows their songs’ energy to diffuse across their audience. And Mills Record Company seems to be the perfect venue to see Shapiro play– intimate without being cramped, refined without losing that Kansas City air.
All that said, there’s something that goes beyond the Mikal Shapiro’s songs and her live show that makes her melodies so well-crafted and infectious. It could be the emotional tangibility her lyrics lend to her songs, it could be the forms her instrumentals use and subvert, it could be the ability for her songs to sound so close they could be emanating from within their listeners. It could be a lot of things. Whatever it is, it makes for an album that is near perfect.
From start to finish, The Musical sounds as though it could be from prohibition days or from 100 years in the future. Shapiro seems to have perfected the intricate balancing act of sounding as progressive as she does traditional. No matter how the album is classified, there’s no getting around the fact that it is catchy and packs a solid punch. And this Saturday, Mikal Shapiro will be performing it at Mills Record Company with special guest David Regnier. The show starts at 7pm, is all ages, and costs nothing.